4cupswell flavoured vegetable stock, (I used store bought liquid stock)
1tbspolive oil, (I used lemon infused, plain is fine)
1tbspfinely chopped fresh rosemary
12black olives, roughly chopped
For the chickpeas:
1tbspolive oil, (I used lemon infused plain is fine)
4button mushrooms, sliced
1can chickpeas, drained
1can chopped tomatoes
1tspsugar, or maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
A splash of red wine
Half a bag of baby spinach
For the polenta:
Put the stock, garlic, oil, rosemary, chilli and salt in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stirring constantly, slowly pour in the polenta. Keep stirring! The mixture will thicken quickly and bubble like a Rotorua mud pool. Watch out because it burns like nothing else if it lands on you.
Stir for 3-4 minutes, then stir through the olives and pour the mixture into a lined slice tin. Let it cool until it stops steaming then put in the fridge for an hour or so or until well set. You can also make this ahead of time and just leave it in the fridge until you're ready to grill it.
Turn the polenta out onto a chopping board and slice it into whatever shape your heart desires. I went with small triangles, which were easy to turn over in the pan and also looked pretty.
Heat a griddle pan or frypan over a high heat. If you're using a griddle pan you want it pretty scorching otherwise the polenta will stick. Rub a little olive oil on both sides of the polenta, then add to the pan. Let it sit without moving it until you're sure it's golden (or has grill marks, in the case of the griddle pan) then pray to the kitchen gods that it hasn't stuck, and flip it.
Once the second side is golden, remove from the pan and keep warm in a low oven until you're ready to serve.
For the chickpeas:
Heat olive oil in a frypan over a medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until softening and golden. Add mushrooms and thyme, season with a little salt and stir through. Cook for a few minutes then add chickpeas, tomatoes, smoked paprika, tomato paste, sugar and a splash of red wine. Add a little water if the mixture is on the dry side (depends on your canned tomatoes) - I added about half a cup.
Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until the chickpeas have softened a bit and the sauce has reduced somewhat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and even a bit more sugar if your tomatoes are on the acidic side.
Stir through the baby spinach and serve on top of, or alongside your grilled polenta.
If you have fresh rosemary which is flowering, like mine is, then garnish with a few rosemary flowers and congratulate yourself on a dish of great beauty. The flowers are totally edible.